CHARLESTON, W.Va. — West Virginia’s public employees, not including teachers, will see at least $50 million more collectively in their paychecks in the coming year under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, the federal tax overhaul, according to an analysis from the West Virginia Auditor’s Office.
Starting last Friday, changes to tax withholding tables were in effect for state paychecks.
Among the more than 40,000 state workers and employees of West Virginia University and Marshall University paid through the wvOASIS system, Auditor J.B. McCuskey estimated the total average savings for the pay period was around $1.9 million.
There are 26 pay periods each year.
“These are all West Virginians who are going to shop in West Virginia local businesses, so I think that this is, on the whole, a very, very good thing for West Virginia,” McCuskey said on Monday’s MetroNews “Talkline.”
McCuskey broke it down to an average of between $1,100 or $1,200 in federal tax savings per year, per employee on average.
“That doesn’t feel like crumbs to me,” he said.
U.S. Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) agreed.
“That’s tires for your car, fixing a new furnace, going on a vacation — $1,200 is significant. People work hard for this money,” she said. “It’s just, I think, further demonstration that it (tax reform) was well past due and very welcome.”
Annual savings will continue to climb at tax time for 2018 with larger child tax credits available along with a doubling of the standard tax deduction, in McCuskey’s analysis.
“The way the federal government sets up their tax tables is they, obviously, want to keep as much of your money as possible for the year,” he explained.
“So the tables are a baseline and it is our opinion that many of these people will be receiving a large refund at the end of the year too.”
Teachers are considered county employees, so McCuskey said his office does not have access to their pay records via wvOASIS and that is why his office’s estimates do not include them.
“The impact that this tax law is going to have should have a very similar impact on the workforce within the county school systems as it does on the state’s workforce in general,” he predicted.
“All of those employees will certainly feel good about that as money that they can spend themselves,” Capito said. “Individually, it’s good, but for the state it’s good too when you think in total.”
Walmart is West Virginia’s largest private employer.
“If you want to start talking about the state employees, the teachers and Walmart just put together, you’re talking about a big chunk of change that will, hopefully, come back into our state’s economy,” McCuskey said.
After passage of the tax overhaul, Walmart announced plans to increase starting salaries for all hourly workers in the United States to $11 per hour, provide a one-time $1,000 cash bonus to eligible employees and expand maternity and parental leave benefits.